SportsLeader is a virtue-based mentoring and motivation program for coaches. This blog shares stories from coaches all over the country transforming lives. For more information contact Lou Judd -

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Inner City Experience

I spent 2 days with an inner city high school football team last week. I don't think I will ever forget the experience. It showed the necessity of FATHERING!

As the guys were arriving I tried saying good morning to most of them as they came in - most walked by without responding or looking at me, some looked at me as if I just landed from planet 816. 

I told the head coach - lets get the guys talking (35 of them), lets learn some more about them personally. Here goes:

- 5 had been in prison already, one for 3 years.
- 70% had been arrested at least once
- 34 of the 35 suspended from school at least once
- Only 2 lived with both Mom and Dad

Some questions we asked:

- Who had breakfast this morning (it was 10 AM)?: 0
- If we organized a father-son event, who would invite their Dads? 2 hands went up
We then learned some Dads were in jail, dead, missing ... had never met him before.

It was apparent that the only goal I wanted to go for was some healing. These kids were hurting in ways I couldn't fathom ...

At one point Coach asked everyone in the room (myself included) to stand up and talk about something they regret. 35 players and 5 coaches ... I think 33 were weeping at one point ... not welling up ... no - weeping.

The Head Coach was amazing. The kids respected and loved him so much. He was absolutely the only person many of these guys had - seriously - the only one. He would hug many of them for a long time as they wept ... "You're one of us now. You're wanted. You're one of. You belong here." It was amazing.

At the end of the day we had the players write letters to someone they wanted to thank. Coach told them to invite this person to the end of practice tomorrow (Saturday).
13 of the 35 had someone present ... heartbreaking. 

Coach asked one player, "J where is your Mom?" "She never came home last night. I called her but nothin" "Did you have dinner last night?" "No" ...

Coach shook his head and began to cry ...

May the testimony of this coach persevering amidst all this adversity encourage you to COACH and TEACH for the right reasons - the real reasons.

God bless, Lou


  1. God bless that Coach and those young men. I pray that despite the love that most never found in an earthly father, they would find the abundant love in a Heavenly Father Who loved them so much that He would send His own Son to die for them.


  2. Thank you Lou. As you are aware mu husband is a school resource office and the kids he sees are often from some of the same environment.
    A few years we received a call from a young man as he had no one to call to tell his dad was dead on the living room floor. They had no beds - who knew.
    Whoever knows the pain, hurt and day to day situations that so many young
    people keep tucked inside, just trying to fit in. So often pain becomes

    Working on a jail recidivism reduction taskforce and participating in the
    jail Masses I often see so many young face and wonder how they ended up so lost.

    We know Fatherhood and lack of Fathers is a contributing issue. There are many studies that demonstrates the fact- when offering those in prison Mother's Day Cards most will take them to send to their Mothers. When offering the same for Father's Day 75% of the cards remain untouched.

    Fatherhood... Most people are unaware that everyday children are born and on their birth certificate where you place the parent's names there are thousands upon thousands of blank - father lines on birth certificates.

    Imagine looking at your birth certificate trying to figure out where you
    come from, trying to belong or identify with someone and you have a blank.

    Radical feminism and the cultural destruction of the family has created a
    generation in pain, with empty lives, fatherless.

    I am working on a piece of legislation that would require the known -
    Father's name to be on the birth certificate. Then there would be a section below where it could - when confirmed with DNA (if this occurs at some timein the future) for unmarried parents.

    It is nature to long to know ones origins...

    Thank you for all you do for youth and coaches.

  3. Amazing story, Lou. Thanks for sharing. I'm reading, "Fathered by God" right now by John Eldredge, and it talks about the importance of fatherhood.

    What a blessing you are to these boys and so many others.


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